A Morning in Baščaršija
A visit to Sarajevo should start with Baščaršija, the old part of town. At its heart is Sebilj, a pseudo-Moorish fountain which is one of the city’s most recognizable symbols. Brusa Bezistan Museum provides an overview of the city’s history and is housed in an old covered bazaar. Other options include Husrev-Bey’s Mosque and the Old Synagogue (now a Jewish Museum). Time permitting, Svrzo’s House is another must-see; with its quiet garden and traditional architecture, the house shows how a wealthy Muslim family lived in Sarajevo during Ottoman times. Another attraction is Despić’s House, not far from Hotel Europe. This museum offers a look inside a wealthy Serbian Orthodox family’s home. Performances were put on here before the National Theater opened. Be sure not to miss a single spot in town where East and West meet, including Vijećnica – a symbol of the meeting of civilizations – which has countless interesting stories to share with visitors.
A Traditional Bosnian Lunch
From Vijećnica, take a walk across the bridge to Inat Kuća. Now a restaurant serving tasty local fare, it remains a symbol of defiance and spite, but with a local twist! The staff will be happy to tell you the whole story. You can try Bosnian specialties in traditional restaurants, such as ASDŽ and Hadžibajrić aščinicas and for those who love food from the grill, the best choices are Mrkva, Petica, Kurto and Hodžić ćevabdžinicas.
An Afternoon at Some Museums
Sarajevo has plenty of interesting museums. One suggestion is the Museum of Sarajevo: 1878-1918, which is across the street from the Latin Bridge – where WWI commenced. Another is the National Museum of BiH, which is just a short taxi ride from Baščaršija. Its exhibits cover BiH’s entire history and its most valuable items are medieval Bosnian tombstones (stećci) and the famous Sarajevo Haggadah. Many stories revolve around this priceless manuscript: some relate to its arrival in the city and others attest to its amazing survival during the city’s turbulent past. Not far from the National Museum is the Historical Museum of BiH, where you can view some interesting items on the history of Sarajevo and BiH, as well as the unique Tito Café, where you can rest and which is full of memories of Josip Broz “Tito” – the legendary partisan commander of WWII and the first president of former Yugoslavia.
With so much on offer, one might find it difficult to decide on how to spend an evening, and even more so during busy festival periods. In summer, there is the Sarajevo Film Festival, with open-air cinemas, concerts and star-studded events; Jazz Fest and MESS are autumn favorites, and winter starts with the Sarajevo Holiday Market and ends with the Sarajevo Winter Festival. In spring, one can welcome the new season and see Sarajevo in bloom.
As for dinner, there’s Kibe’s, with its unique rustic ambiance, traditional music and spectacular views. For music, there is Sevdah Art House, for an intro to Bosnia’s traditional and beloved sevdah, then Monument or Cinemas Club, which feature many interesting bands.